Hello all! I'm very glad I've finally finished this chapter, since it's been bothering me so much. I recently just discovered the movie the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and really, I loved it. As I was watching it for a second time (as I always do for movies I like), I thought up a character, and story plot. And I really like this one, so I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you will continue to read the following chapters that will be up soon. But until then, buon divertimento!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize.
Characters are slightly AU.
Oh, and for anyone who likes Veronica, I'm sorry but she will not be a part of this story, as I did not originally plan it with her in it. She will however, be a major character in the next story I'm going to work on. So, enjoy this, and wait patiently for the next story. So sorry :P Oh, and please note that I do not have an editor for this story, so any mistakes are my own, and if you point them out to me, I will kindly correct them. Thank you very much :)
(P.S. The italics are memories, and I'm sorry if it makes you dizzy. If you need me to, I can IM you the thing without the italics. Feel free to contact me, anyone, if you need anything) :)
It had been an easy trip, and that's all she was certain of. She couldn't trust the man she worked for, nor the people she socialized with. There was no one in her life she could rely on, but a single being, and she'd blown her chance with him. She wasn't certain of anything; whether the sun would rise in a day, or that she would get through another minute. As she listened to her footsteps ringing through the cement tunnel, she couldn't help the memories that flooded through her brain, in fact she welcomed them. They were a constant reminder that she still had reason to be alive, and that there was a reason she was walking around the icy, near-deserted train station, instead of at a friend's house, where it was nice and warm, where she could curl up in a ball next to a fire, and stay there forever. Even as she walked, she could feel intense rigors running through her, and she held back what would've been a vicious cough, her body aching with unnerving pains. She reached the stairway, and fingered the ring that rested peacefully on her pointer finger. She was glad she finally had it back, and was unpleasantly surprised at how cold it was. She rubbed it frantically, trying to get it to warm up some. Well, she figured there was at least one thing she was half-certain of. She was free.
How she'd come by the precious ring, was a different story entirely. In fact, it was not one she was really looking forward to telling in the future; nor was she exactly excited for thinking of. Not now. Not this time. Her eyes clouded, and she stopped in her tracks, remembering not how she'd retrieved the ring, but how she'd recently re-gained it again.
A hooded figure strode certainly down the crowded streets of New York City, shoving gently past people, and ignoring the incredulous looks they were shooting her. She turned a sharp corner, turned around, and turned another, as if to throw off anyone following her off her trail. Before glancing around once more, she gently raised a hand to her forehead, before pointing it at the brick graffiti-covered wall in front of her. And suddenly, the rough drawings and foul words formed into a scene which looked like a dark park. Before glancing around her once more, the woman stepped towards the wall, letting it engulf her completely. A burning sensation ran through her, a feeling she couldn't help but smile at. Though it pained her greatly, the mere air of magic making her feel alive and merry.
She tried not to fall to her knees as she rapidly arrived at the usual meeting place, but failed horribly. She stood up, only her nose showing from the cloak covered the entire of her body. She kneaded her hands together, before crossing the soaked grass, grateful the rain had finally stopped. She passed through an orchard of trees, before a small, abandoned playground came into view. The haunting image sent shudders snaking down her back, though she should've grown used the eeriness ages ago. She stepped past the damp bark pieces and slides, towards a large oak tree that was placed in the middle of the grassy area of the park. The moon shown through the dark leaves to reveal a silhouette of a man, sitting on the ground, his legs crossed in a complicated puzzle position.
"You will not lay a hand, nor spell on him. You will not kill him, nor injure him; mentally, physically, or emotionally. That was our deal," she called out as she neared the figure. He snapped his eyes open to reveal his icy blue orbs. Instantly the air seemed to freeze, and she found herself gasping for breath as she stared at him, her jaw set.
"That was our agreement, yes, and I have not broken that promise in any form. I am a man of my word, you of all people should know that," he smiled slyly, coming out of the shadows to reveal himself, "Your voice is disguised, and I can't help but wonder why."
She cocked an eyebrow at him, "Old habit, I suppose." Though he also wore a cape, she could easily make out his young, sculpted, somehow demeaning, pale face, and his ragged, dark hair that hung down to cover his pointed ears. He was only a bit older than herself, and yet he was so much more powerful. And frightening.
"You are awfully protective of your master, Cleo, and it's peculiarly intriguing," he purred, his eyes bright, as he motioned for her to sit across from him, and she willingly obliged.
"He's not my master anymore," she spat, "And, thought I hate to admit it, he's far too accident prone, and really, if any more were to happen to him at the moment, bad things would happen, Septimus, bad things."
"Since when have we been formal enough for you to call me 'Septimus'?" he chuckled lightly, and flashed an odd smile at her.
"You called me Cleo," she bantered back, "And besides, I've known you long enough."
"You are not a dark, not to mention extremely practiced sorcerer," his devious face lit up with excitement, "I have every right to shoot you out of the sky, and I most certainly have the right to call you by your first name. As you are not a masterful magical being, as I am, you do not hold that right."
Cleo scoffed, "The thing about that statement, is that you are not powerful, nor wholly dark. I am not intimidated by you. And I have every right as you, Septimus."
Septimus sighed, bringing his hands up towards he face to massage his head, "This conversation is growing old, Cleo. I'm afraid I'd like to do something else."
The girl stared steadily back at him, before slowly raising her hands, as if to welcome a small child. She forced herself to take deep breaths as the incantation ran through her head. She had to do this. She had to. She didn't have a choice. And then she muttered the words, gradually, yet eagerly, keeping her eyes trained on Septimus, and her concentration on only her actions. The ancient words rolled off her tongue, as though she spoke them as a natural language, as they always did, though the syllables were foreign to her. She felt her fingertips heat up, and they started to burn. Her throat grew raw, her eyes watered, and she felt her lungs contract. She felt paralyzed as Septimus's eyes grew wide as he realized what she was going to do. And then she thrust her hands out, and a strange force seemed hit her like an impeccably strong wind. And suddenly, Septimus crumpled to the ground, gasping for air.
Cleo felt a fire light up inside her, and a grin spread across her face as she stood over the older of the two, her mouth open as she gaped at her handiwork. She knelt down next to the man, "I did it," she breathed.
Septimus's eyes fluttered open, though he looked too weak to do anything, so Cleo let him speak. His face filled with curiosity, and he looked at her in wonder, "So there can be two."
"There is nothing prime about me, Tovaire," she murmured, looking at him, her eyes filled with pity, "And you know the real he is much better than I will ever be."
"You keep denying it," he choked out, "You're going to have to live with the fact that there is magic in your blood someday, Cleo."
"That's all it is," her eyes dimmed considerably, "just magic in my blood."
She watched as he slowly drifted away into unconsciousness, before crouching down, rocking back and forth on her heels. She reached forward, her lips pursed as she measured the situation, "I'm terribly sorry to inconvenience you, Sep," she plucked a rather large and awkward-looking ring off of his left hand, "But I'm going to have to take this back, as it is mine."
And within the second she clutched it in her hands, she slid it easily onto her own finger, and grinned at the fluttery feeling it gave her. She then raised the hand with the golden ring, and moved her arm in a circle movement, before cupping her hands, and raising them towards the sky. Septimus flew up towards the oak tree, and the branches snaked around the cover his body. Cleo bit her lip, before taking a sharp step towards the plant, before it erupted in flames. She studied the burning sapling for a moment longer, before turning in the other direction, and taking off towards the nearest alleyway before anyone caught her.
Cleo smiled as she came back from her memories, and realized she was standing was standing in the same spot as before. She sighed, and glanced around her, glad she'd chosen this time of night to come to the train station. No one was taking a train at two in the morning. She stared down at her dark converse before, grabbing the rail, and starting down the large staircase. She was about halfway through her usually perilous trek, when she heard voices in the distance, coming closer. She froze, tensing up for an attacker out of habit. The voice came closer, and she was surprised she recognized one of them.
"Because, it would be too conspicuous. We don't want to attract the attention of regular humans. Explaining it to them, as I've said before, would be complicated. Things would get out of hand, and I'm not in the mood for talking to the press about why we were flying around town on a large, metal thing," three people came into view, but only one stood out to Cleo.
Her eyes widened as she recognized the brown hair with blonde streaks from too much time in the sun, the light eyes that were brightened by his slight insanity, and the ageless face, that had a quality that made Cleo shiver with admiration. Her jaw nearly hit the floor as she gaped. "Mast—Balthazar?" she muttered under her breath. If her suspicions were true, it had to be a dream. The scraggly hair was different, the last time she'd seen it, it was cut short, and pulled back from his face. He looked older, if it were possible, though she knew it wasn't. He was worn, and tired, and a heck of a lot more haunted than she'd ever seen him. But the same air that followed him around, the air of pride and arrogance that seemed to always be around him, gave him away, "It is you, Balthazar," she called louder, her heart fluttering about as her spirits lifted. What were the chances? She'd found him once again. And she'd waited a damn long time.
The man turned up at the sound of her voice, and she could tell the click of recognition in his expression as his brilliant mind turned, thinking out the possibilities. But she watched him shrug it off, and a slight grin, that he was trying to hide from the two teenagers standing behind him, slid onto his face. But then his eyes dimmed as he once again began to think. He squinted, and as the teenagers, who were hand in hand, didn't notice his abrupt stop, ran into him, he scowled. Cleo smirked, and shook her head in disbelief. The split-second these emotions had ran past his face, he saw her, and he didn't come running. He thought she wasn't real. But then again, she was supposed to be dead. So she took liberty into her own hands.
She darted down the stairs, and nearly tackled Balthazar to the ground, her eyes watering with joy. Balthazar easily caught her, stopping himself from falling to the hard cement floor. He pulled her back and studied her some more. He tapped her shoulder, as if to see if she were real, "Cleo?" he gasped, "Are you real?"
"Do I look like I dare play another trick on you, Balthazar?" she smiled wanly at him, "Alive and in the flesh."
She caught sight of the two apparent lovers. The female was absolutely gorgeous, and Cleo couldn't help but grin at the blonde-haired girl. Her eyes were entrancing, though she was no a sorcerer, it was obvious she'd been exposed to magic by the fantastic quality she held. The other, however, was slightly disappointing. He looked no older than twenty, and was, to be generous, slightly unattractive. His dark hair fell back in complicated swoops, and his eyes a dull, dark color. Yet, as she continued to look him over further, her eyes fell upon the glorious, dragon ring that rested on his hand, as if he were born to wear it. And with a start, she realized he was. Merlin's blood ran through his veins.
Suddenly, she was bowing, her eyes boring into his shoes. She tried her hardest not to burst out laughing at the 'old man shoes'. The kid stared at her strangely, "Who are you and why are you bowing?"
Cleo snorted, "I am bowing because you are the Prime Merlinean. I respect you in many ways that no other sorcerer would. You saved the world, and therefore you are my savior, along with anyone else living on this dismal planet," she paused to take a deep breath, "As to who I am, that is not important in any way, but I will tell you anyways. My name is Cleo-Marie Noelle Elwer, and I am a fellow sorcerer."
With that statement, she turned once again to Balthazar. She stared steadily into the older man's suspicious eyes, and felt back all urges to hug him once again. She swallowed, "As for you, Mister Blake," she seemed disgusted at the words, but her eyes still lit up considerably, "Ask away, because I'm certain you have many questions."
Something flickered through the old sorcerer's eyes, and Cleo, knowing Balthazar, could only guess it was pain, "How long?"
This was the question Cleo'd been dreading the most, and her smile instantly disappeared. Why couldn't he have saved that one for last? She frowned, and took a sudden interest in her hands, which she was kneading together.
"I'm sorry, I can't hear you," he mocked her gently. Balthazar may as well be Balthazar, but it wasn't going to change the truth. She might as well talk to him while she could.
"At least a year. Maybe a bit more," she choked out, her eyebrows furrowing, "And there's a reason I haven't told you yet. I-I thought you… I mean what were the chances of you being-."
"—In New York?" he snapped, acting as though he were pissed off at her, though the genuine concern burning in his eyes gave him away.
"Alive," she blurted out awkwardly. She could hear the two shift behind her. "I mean, knowing you Balthazar, there's always a good possibility you could be dead."
"Wait, how do you know her?" the Prime Merlinean called out. Cleo turned on her heel and considered him.
"Dave," so that was his name, "That is information you do not need to be aware of," Balthazar scolded him crossly.
"I lost my master at a young age," okay, so it was the half-truth, "Balthazar helped me out when I was in trouble, that's all," that might have been stretching it a bit. Cleo sent Balthazar an apologetic look.
Dave opened his mouth to say something, but he was interrupted by a sudden, harsh-sounded cough coming from Cleo's mouth. She doubled over, but instantly straightened herself up, and sent Balthazar a 'don't-discuss-it' look. All color drained form her face, and it was suddenly clear to everyone, that there were plain, grey, unflattering streak littering what should've been Cleo's natural, pure red hair.
Balthazar stepped forward and gently eased a strand of hair away from her, studying it gently. He made an 'hmm' sound and let the piece fall back into place, "So it still pains you then."
She gave a small growling sound, "Yes, it does pain me. A lot. But I don't want to likes of you," she shoved a bony finger into his chest with enough force he stumbled backwards a bit, "to be worried. It was my decision and my decision only. Oh, and before you ask, I destroyed the incantation, and whatever you do to me, I will never give it back. Are we understood, Balthazar?"
A fire seemed to light around her as spoke, and Dave stepped forward, "What's going on, Balthazar? What are you talking about?"
"Nothing of your concern, Dave. Just leave us be, and stay out of it. This doesn't involve you," Balthazar snapped, his eyes igniting with the same flame as Cleo's.
"Oh have some sympathy on the poor boy," Cleo joked, "Give him some leeway, he's just a kid."
"How old are you?" David gaped, "I mean," he spluttered.
Cleo smiled kindly, "Twenty-three, though I'm three years older than you, so I have every right to call you kid," she winked at him.
"I will not have you distracting my apprentice," Balthazar returned his attention to the short, pale redhead in front of him.
Cleo snorted at that, "Alright, I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but notice you're acting as though you have power over me. It's quite disturbing," she replied dryly.
Balthazar was obviously taken aback, "I do have power over you."
"Since when, old man?"
The sorcerer glanced at David, hesitated, and turned away.
"You're acting rather immature about this Balthazar, and I'm sure you expected this time to come at least once in your lifetime, hmm?" she commented shrewdly.
Balthazar opened his mouth to banter back, when a train suddenly appeared out of no where, chugging along on it's tracks. "Mind if I tag along?" she smiled at the three.
"Of course not," the blonde rushed out hurriedly, as if afraid Balthazar and Dave would say no.
Cleo smiled warmly, "I'm sorry, but I seemed to have missed your name."
"Becky," she shook Cleo's outstretched hand, "I'm Dave's boyfriend."
Cleo raised her eyebrows at Dave and grinned toothily, "That's wonderful. I'm so glad you two are happy."
They all clambered onto the train, Balthazar and Cleo avoiding each other's harsh glares. Halfway through the trip to the lab, Dave cornered Cleo against a wall.
"Well, well, David, taking things a little fast aren't we?" she teased, "I mean, I've only just met you."
Dave sighed, "What is up with you and Balthazar? And don't tell me that it's confidential, and only he has the right to know, because I'm his apprentice, and I need to know everything about him that I can, since he's not exactly willing to share everything about his past."
How much could have changed in the few years she was gone? When she'd known Balthazar… he'd been willing to share anything she asked him about, "I wasn't planning on it, Dave. In all truth, as I said, I knew him long before you knew him. We've had a past, and it's not exactly a cheerful one. I'm the one not willing to share here, because there's nothing to share. He took me in for a couple of days, and we would randomly bump into each other. That's it."
Dave studied her carefully, as if to see if she was telling the truth, "Then tell me more about yourself."
"Like what," Cleo fiddled with her sleeve.
"Like why your hair is grey," This kid obviously didn't think before he spoke.
"Now that, is strictly confidential. That is something that bothers me, and I'm not willing to tell you not only for your own sake, but for everyone else's as well."
"Then tell me other things," he didn't push much, and she was glad. She wasn't in the mood for a big sob story.
"Like what?" she repeated, irritation masking her voice.
"Like how you were separated from your master."
She felt a twinge of pain. They were meandering back in the direction of a sob story, "There was this guy, and he was fascinated in me. We tried to kill me and torture me, and eventually, he captured my master. He threatened to kill my master if I didn't turn myself in. So, I did, freeing my master."
"You'd risk your life for your master like that?" Dave's eyes widened.
"I'm sure you'd do the same thing for Balthazar in less than a heartbeat," she replied crisply, "And it wouldn't be the first time I've saved my masters life. I'm the only reason he's still alive, and I still am."
"So what happened?" though it'd been a short version, she could tell Dave was fascinated in a sick way.
"I was supposedly killed, and I never saw my master again," she sighed, and adverted her eyes.
His eyebrows furrowed, "Wait… what? You never saw him again?"
"Look, kid, if you want a happy ending, go watch a Disney movie or something. This is real life. Deal with it."
"But why would you sacrifice yourself like that, even if you knew you were never going to see him again?" Dave was still trying to process the whole thing. Cleo smirked.
"Well I was never going to see him again either way," she replied dryly, willing the tears that were bound to fall to stop, "And besides," she cracked a smile, "I always like to think of it as repaying him. He's saving my life too many times to count, and for him, likewise."
"Well, was he a good teacher?" Dave stepped back, and leaned against the opposite wall of the cart.
Cleo folded her arms, "I guess you could say that," she stared off into the distance, a cloudy looking forming over her hazel eyes, "He was the most powerful sorcerer I ever knew. With a single blow, he could defeat the most intimidating or strong Morganian out there. He was kind, yet reckless. He was quiet, yet amazing. He was beautiful in his own way."
"So that's why you sacrificed yourself?"
Cleo nodded silently, "I knew the world would be better off with him alive, rather than me alive."
Suddenly a dark, haunting look passed over her sculpted face. She opened her mouth slowly, and gave a huge, depressed sigh, "I've been lying to you, Dave."
"What…?" he started, and gaped at her.
"I did see my master again. That's all. Everything else is true, I swear," she reassured him. Sometimes college students were so predictable.
"Well, who's your master then?" he glanced up at her, "I'm sure you can afford to tell me."
She studied her hands for a second, then pursed her lips, and sighed once again.
A/N: You gotta love cliffies on the first chapter of the story, they're great :) Just kidding. Anyways, moving on. Please review, since not only does it make me happy and keep me writing, but it also feeds my muse, Andrew :) And we wouldn't want Andrew to get hungry, now would we? ;) Anyways, thanks for reading, and your wait shouldn't be too long! :)
Happy writing and reading.